Members to benefit from upgrades to Minnesota’s energy efficiency standards 

After nearly four years of work, the Energy Conservation & Optimization (ECO) Act, a bill led by electric cooperatives, passed the legislature at the close of the regular session with strong bipartisan support and was signed by Governor Walz. 

Thank you to our Dakota County legislators for supporting significant and beneficial reform to the state’s energy efficiency standards, a cornerstone of the state’s energy policy. 

Dakota Electric is excited about the improved benefits we can directly pass along to our members because of the proactive provisions in the ECO Act. 

The ECO Act gives Dakota Electric more flexibility to recognize and respond to emerging technologies, consumer behaviors and demands. Utility programs that encouraged the adoption of technologies like LED lighting and Energy Star® rated appliances have provided more than $6 billion in net benefits to the state and supported local jobs in every corner of Minnesota. However, as new technologies have emerged, the Conservation Improvement Program (CIP) became outdated and needed reforms to continue providing tangible savings and environmental benefits for energy consumers. 

The CIP energy-reduction goal will remain at 1.5% annually, but a portion can now be achieved through beneficial electrification programs, like Dakota Electric’s electric vehicle charging programs. 

In addition to allowing utilities to create programs that incentivize adoption and installation of new technologies to help reduce total energy use and save members money, a groundbreaking reform around efficient fuel-switching — substituting electricity for a member’s current fuel source — is provided in the ECO Act. 

The ECO Act will allow cooperatives to offer programs that substitute electricity for a member’s current fuel when those programs reduce: (1) the overall amount of energy; (2) greenhouse gas emissions; and (3) member costs. 

For more than eight decades, Dakota Electric has provided local homes, businesses, schools, hospitals and other essential services with safe, affordable and reliable electricity. The ECO Act will help us further our efforts to help members save money and energy, and continue a decades-long campaign to decarbonize our energy production. 

To learn more about our energy efficiency programs, please visit our load management section or call 651-463-6243 to speak to one of our Energy Experts.